ING Direct moves banking forward

For 15 years, ING Direct had been a place to "save your money" - as its well-dressed Dutch spokesperson had put it. And people did save their money at ING, but in many cases, that's all they did.

The company needed to evolve from being a "place to save" to being a place to bank. John St. considered what a consumer would want from a bank in 2012, observing consumer behaviour outside the financial industry. The world has changed in the last 10 years, but the banking industry is the same, conducting most of its business in branches.

John St. wanted to show people that there was a better way forward. The plan was a complete 360-degree overhaul of the ING Direct brand - from its logo to design to traditional, digital and social advertising. The theme for the launch campaign was "Stop banking in the past," with all communication anchored by the new "Forward Banking" tagline.

The agency launched a 60-second spot called "Old Ways," which quite literally blew up the iconic symbols of traditional banking (from bank hour signs to velvet ropes to fine print-laden pamphlets).

Billboards went up in major Canadian cities with headlines like "Bank shouldn't be four-letter word" and "Service fees are so last millennium." A four-page National Post buy appeared with the headline: "You've changed. Why hasn't your bank?" And a 30-second spot ("Coal") talked to the specific advantages of ING's Thrive chequing account.

Early results from the campaign with Brand Pulse tracking data indicated that unaided brand awareness increased to 11% from 9% in one month, while all competitor measures had declined. New visitors to were up 30% versus the same period the year prior.